Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

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Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:23 pm

Any thoughts in general regarding the relative strength of these firms' job security, practice area flexibility, culture?

For the sake of anonymity, I'll refrain from revealing the market but pick any market and assume they are all in it (not NYC). I know the market changes the advice given, but general advice is satisfactory.

Still a little on the fence about practice area (hence the desire for flexibility), but I guess leaning lit. I'm also interested in more statutory practice areas (think tax/bankruptcy).

Sorry if this is a bit all over the place. Nonetheless, any and all thoughts are appreciated.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 2:46 pm

Definitely cross off Jones Day unless you are ok with being paid significantly under market.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Definitely cross off Jones Day unless you are ok with being paid significantly under market.


I read the ATL article about that. Is it really significantly under market?

Any other thoughts?

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby dabigchina » Fri Sep 02, 2016 3:30 pm

I think you'll be hard pressed to get a good answer without telling people the market or the practice.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:52 pm

dabigchina wrote:I think you'll be hard pressed to get a good answer without telling people the market or the practice.


Assume DC, 50/50 on lit/transactional - want to decide during the summer.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:55 pm

Have friends at MoFo and Jones Day.

This is tough, as they're all great firms, so there's no way you can really go wrong here. Jones Day's black box system does typically result in under-market bonuses, so that might be a good reason to strike them off your list. I haven't ever really heard any complaints from my friends there, so not sure if that applies to DC

Ultimately, if you are truly split between corporate and lit, it might be better to go with MoFo. Sidley DC's corp department is pretty small, and the people I know that went to MoFo said their corporate group is sizable. But even then, it's not straight up corporate work, like M&A or corp governance. A lot of their work comes from REIT (real estate investment trusts). They also do a lot of financial regulation. DC law offices are not typically known for big ticket M&A, but that's just the way they are.


TL;DR - go wherever you feel the best fit, unless you're desperate to do corp, then go to MoFo

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Sep 02, 2016 11:40 pm

I'm starting at Jones Day's DC office next month. You can do transactional stuff at the DC office, but I don't think it's super common.

As far as compensation, it remains to be seen how the new market compensation will affect bonuses, which will determine how underpaid JD associates are. If bonuses stay the same, JD people will paid quite a bit less after the first year. If bonuses go down, there may not be that much of a gap in compensation. Who knows.

They're all good firms. Do you have an idea of which place/people you liked best? Ask to do a second look if you need to.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:03 am

JD pays significantly under market. Most of my friends have left the firm because of the pay (also in the secondary offices the hours are high but it's biglaw so that's nothing special).

Depending on the mkt and group prefernace I would say MOFO.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:44 am

I would pick Jones Day. Amazing office and really good attorneys to work with. The Above the Law story about pay (and the anecdotes about "my friend left because he was paid below market") are misleading: it's a black box system so yes, some people are paid below market. But others are paid at or above market. Obviously people wouldn't stay at the firm if they could lateral and make tens of thousands of dollars a year more. Some of the advantages of Jones Day are typically more substantive experience earlier on and a better chance of becoming a senior associate and possibly even a partner.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would pick Jones Day. Amazing office and really good attorneys to work with. The Above the Law story about pay (and the anecdotes about "my friend left because he was paid below market") are misleading: it's a black box system so yes, some people are paid below market. But others are paid at or above market. Obviously people wouldn't stay at the firm if they could lateral and make tens of thousands of dollars a year more. Some of the advantages of Jones Day are typically more substantive experience earlier on and a better chance of becoming a senior associate and possibly even a partner.


Sorry to derail the thread but are you accounting for bonuses? I am not OP, but am/was considering Jones Day. Loved it there but the ATL article showed a bunch of salaries and none of them were close to market when accounting for bonuses. Seems sad to not choose them bc of merely money but it seems to average to about $250,000 less by your 5th year and 60-80k less per annum after. That's a fairly big chunk of change.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:05 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I would pick Jones Day. Amazing office and really good attorneys to work with. The Above the Law story about pay (and the anecdotes about "my friend left because he was paid below market") are misleading: it's a black box system so yes, some people are paid below market. But others are paid at or above market. Obviously people wouldn't stay at the firm if they could lateral and make tens of thousands of dollars a year more. Some of the advantages of Jones Day are typically more substantive experience earlier on and a better chance of becoming a senior associate and possibly even a partner.


Sorry to derail the thread but are you accounting for bonuses? I am not OP, but am/was considering Jones Day. Loved it there but the ATL article showed a bunch of salaries and none of them were close to market when accounting for bonuses. Seems sad to not choose them bc of merely money but it seems to average to about $250,000 less by your 5th year and 60-80k less per annum after. That's a fairly big chunk of change.


Incoming anon.

I think it's more accurate to say that there are some people who like the firm to stay in spite of the lower compensation. But like any firm, most people leave during year 3-5 for various reasons. Probably a good chunk of those are due to compensation.

Dunno anything about more substantive experience earlier on, every firm says that. And you might have a better chance to make partner, but it's still lottery ticket odds.

I like the place enough and aren't planning on staying long enough that the pay gap was a dealbreaker for me. But it definitely could be for others.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:I would pick Jones Day. Amazing office and really good attorneys to work with. The Above the Law story about pay (and the anecdotes about "my friend left because he was paid below market") are misleading: it's a black box system so yes, some people are paid below market. But others are paid at or above market. Obviously people wouldn't stay at the firm if they could lateral and make tens of thousands of dollars a year more. Some of the advantages of Jones Day are typically more substantive experience earlier on and a better chance of becoming a senior associate and possibly even a partner.



Above anon with friends at JD and MoFo.

The argument isn't that, at Jones Day, some people get paid above market bonuses and some get paid less. The argument (more of an accusation really) is that a slim minority of associates get paid somewhat above average bonuses, and that the vast majority of people get paid under market. The real reason compensation discussions are discouraged is not for "collegiality", but so that partners can keep underpaying associates without a mutiny on their hands.

Most of my friends at Jones Day get paid under market. If you go to Jones Day, in all likelihood, you'll be paid under market.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 12:36 pm

I'm at Jones Day (I'm the anon who posted about above market pay for some). I love the firm and plan to stay as long as I can. Although some associates receive less than "market" my observation is that people tend to be able to stay longer and there is actually some chance to become partner. So if you end up being paid below "market" I would take into account that (based on my observation) people also tend to be able to stay at the firm longer. At firms that have huge summer classes (some with 100 or more) it is a guarantee that many of those people will be forced out. So to me it's worth the risk of getting lower than market pay to get a good work environment, better work early on, and a decent chance of becoming a senior associate. If you're planning to do big law for 2-3 years then leave then maybe it makes sense to choose guaranteed "market" pay somewhere else, but I think your quality of life will also likely be worse.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm at Jones Day (I'm the anon who posted about above market pay for some). I love the firm and plan to stay as long as I can. Although some associates receive less than "market" my observation is that people tend to be able to stay longer and there is actually some chance to become partner. So if you end up being paid below "market" I would take into account that (based on my observation) people also tend to be able to stay at the firm longer. At firms that have huge summer classes (some with 100 or more) it is a guarantee that many of those people will be forced out. So to me it's worth the risk of getting lower than market pay to get a good work environment, better work early on, and a decent chance of becoming a senior associate. If you're planning to do big law for 2-3 years then leave then maybe it makes sense to choose guaranteed "market" pay somewhere else, but I think your quality of life will also likely be worse.


OP Here: This is good information. I'm trying to get a gauge of pros/cons of these firms irrespective of market (although I know the market does change advice about culture/practice area specialty).

Any thoughts about Sidley? Career progression, job security, etc.?

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 3:01 pm

a lot of the pro-JD arguments here are based on unquantifiable metrics like "more substantive experience," "better chance at partnership," "and more collegial(!)." all those things are simply unquantifiable and vary so much depending on which office/which practice group/which partner you work with etc. whereas it's a matter of quantifiable fact that some people at Jones Day will be paid below market. i'd cross jones day off for that reason alone.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 4:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:a lot of the pro-JD arguments here are based on unquantifiable metrics like "more substantive experience," "better chance at partnership," "and more collegial(!)." all those things are simply unquantifiable and vary so much depending on which office/which practice group/which partner you work with etc. whereas it's a matter of quantifiable fact that some people at Jones Day will be paid below market. i'd cross jones day off for that reason alone.


This is true about "substantive experience" and "collegiality," but not partnership. Jones Day NYC made 9 partners this year. You can compare the number of partners made to other firms (and look at the # of associates in the office to the # of partners made).

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:06 pm

come on down to jones day and just be underpaid for 8 years for a 3% chance at partnership as opposed to 1%!

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:52 pm

All I'm saying is that there are people at Jones Day who make market or above. Also if the average lifespan of an associate at another firm is 2.3 years and at Jones Day it's 3.2 years (these numbers are a pure guess) then that's a couple hundred thousand dollars in compensation. Most people experience a serious paycut when they leave big law. If the #1 reason you are working as a lawyer is money then do not go to Jones Day. It's possible you will be paid below market, and besides this the firm is known to be cheap ("fiscally conservative") in many ways. On the other hand, I love my job and I can't say I know many lawyers at other firms who can say that. There are many midlevels and partners who could lateral or go in house and choose to stay--that's a lot of crazy people, huh?

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Mr. Fancy » Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:36 pm

Just go where you want to go

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 03, 2016 10:02 pm

If this is SF MoFo hands down

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote: that's a lot of crazy people, huh?


Yes - it is mind boggling that anyone would choose JD for the chance to do the exact same work as their peers and be paid less for it.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby cron1834 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:All I'm saying is that there are people at Jones Day who make market or above. Also if the average lifespan of an associate at another firm is 2.3 years and at Jones Day it's 3.2 years (these numbers are a pure guess) then that's a couple hundred thousand dollars in compensation. Most people experience a serious paycut when they leave big law. If the #1 reason you are working as a lawyer is money then do not go to Jones Day. It's possible you will be paid below market, and besides this the firm is known to be cheap ("fiscally conservative") in many ways. On the other hand, I love my job and I can't say I know many lawyers at other firms who can say that. There are many midlevels and partners who could lateral or go in house and choose to stay--that's a lot of crazy people, huh?

They're paid less on average. It's a fact. Just acknowledge it and move on dude.

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Re: Sidley v. MoFo v. Jones Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 05, 2016 3:41 pm

I'm a 3rd year JD assoc. There are good reasons to pick JD, but as has been said, we're not the place to choose if #1 on your list is making top dollar for 3-5 years then bouncing. If you think you realistically want to gun for partner, then JD is a better choice b/c we make way more partners than other firms.

Also, if you want to do bankruptcy, JD's bankruptcy group is significantly better than MoFo or Sidley's.



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